Honorary degree: Doctor of Global Health
Gabriel Jaramillo had already earned a reputation for superlative leadership as a senior executive at major financial institutions in the United States and South America, when he was called upon in 2012 to implement a rescue plan for one of the world’s largest global health nonprofits.
In 2011, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria found itself the subject of intensive political and media scrutiny for alleged widespread corruption and waste throughout its operations.
Mr. Jaramillo, who was then serving as adviser to the United Nations’ special envoy for malaria, was asked to join a high-level independent panel to examine the Global Fund’s fiduciary controls and oversight mechanisms.
On the basis of the panel’s findings, the Global Fund’s board devised an ambitious four-year strategy, and in 2012, selected Mr. Jaramillo as the organization’s first general manager—at the symbolic salary of one dollar—to oversee initial stages of implementation. At stake was the survival of a unique, public-private partnership dedicated to funding local programs aimed at preventing and treating HIV and AIDS, TB, and malaria in more than 140 countries.
In less than a year, Mr. Jaramillo thoroughly reorganized the Global Fund, reducing staff and overhauling systems to strengthen grant management, improve efficiency, and tighten financial supervision. In 2013, his successor presided over the Global Fund’s most lucrative replenishment conference to date. The organization received $12 billion in donor pledges—a tribute to Mr. Jaramillo’s transformative leadership. On the strength of that success, the Harvard School of Public Health named him a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow for the spring 2014 semester, giving Mr. Jaramillo the opportunity to teach and lecture on his experience leading the Global Fund’s turnaround.
Mr. Jaramillo’s background prepared him well for his crucial role in preserving the Global Fund. As adviser to the U.N.’s special envoy for malaria from December 2010 to January 2012, he lent his expertise to the push to provide and fund solutions to the scourge of malaria around the world. And in his 35-plus years in banking, he specialized in managing change in complex financial institutions.
Prior to his work at the United Nations, Mr. Jaramillo served as nonexecutive chairman of Santander Holdings USA Inc., which operates as the holding company for Sovereign Bank.
He was chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Sovereign Bank from January 2009 until he retired as chief executive officer and president in January 2011, remaining as chairman until June 2011. He has also served in a variety of executive positions with Grupo Santander and Banco Santander Brasil, as well as with Citibank and Marine Midland Bank.
Mr. Jaramillo is a native of Colombia and a Brazilian citizen. He holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in marketing, both from California State University.